Monday, January 26, 2009

Poncho Villa's Feminine Side: Jalapeno Mead

I've found a lot of mentions of jalapeño mead on the net, but I've only found one recipe for it. The recipe calls for six jalapeños, and the most sensible suggestions I've found for adding them is little by little in the secondary until the taste is just right. But that feels too much like making another batch of JAO, so I'm gonna get a little experimental with it. I'm putting two jalapeños in the primary. If that doesn't do it, I'll add more in the secondary. Hopefully it doesn't ruin the mead doing it this way.

3 lbs Clover Honey (Bargain brand from WalMart. Grade A. Probably Pasteurized.)
1 regular-sized orange (Peeled. Sectioned. Sections cut in half.)
25 raisins - diced
2 Jalapenos (Sliced. De-seeded. Sanitized in 150 degree water for 10 minutes.)
2-1/4 teaspoons of Red Star bread machine yeast

1 gal of distilled water

1/25/2009 @ 5:45 AM

Prepped ingredients. Prepared Must. Shook vigorously for five minutes. Pitched Yeast.

1/26/2009 @ 5:45 AM

Fermentation has started, but it's not audible yet. Evidently the foam obstructed the pin-hole in the balloon, as the balloon was as big as a softball. I replaced the balloon and poked two pin-holes in the second one. The whole closet smells like jalapeno!

1/26/2009 @ 6:00 PM

All looks good now. Fermentation still isn't audible, but I'm betting it will be by tomorrow morning. Stephen thinks it smells aweful. However, I find it kind of interesting (if not appealing).

1/26/2009 @ 6:00 AM

Fermentation is now audible.

1/29/2009 @ 8:40 PM

There is only about 1/4" of honey left in the bottom of the jug. And it smells very nice -- much better. Or, maybe I'm just getting use to it.

2/15/2009 @ 5:00 PM

Racked it today. The sample taste was really delicious. Linda congratulated me on making my first batch of true gut-rot. But, in my opinion, the taste of honey and jalapeño go quite nicely together. It even had just a little bit of heat going down the throat. I plan on adding another jalapeño or two into the secondary, once I go shopping.

3/12/2009 @ 8:15 PM

Re-racked it today into a new jug. It has a very deep jalapeño essence (smell and taste), but no heat at all. I sliced up two more fresh jalapeños today and dropped them in. This one might turn out really well. Linda doesn't like it -- but she's not a very big pepper fan. I'd like to perfect this recipe.

3/30/2009 @ 7:00 PM

Had two glasses of it tonight. This is without a doubt the most uniquely wonderful tasting stuff in the world. It has just a little bit of heat, and I'm gonna call it good for now. It's ready to bottle. I'll hold this stuff in reserve; it's not for everybody. In the next batch of it, I think I'll forgo the jalapeno's in the primary and add another in the secondary, just for a tad more heat. I'm definitely satisfied with the first batch, though.

4/10/2009 @ 8:00 PM

Bottled it.


  1. Am thinking about making a Jalapeno mead. What are your thoughts on adding some Lime and a tiny bit of cilantro. I have access to Jalapeno honey from a local apiary. Never tried it, don't know how hot it'll be.

  2. Hi, Justin.

    I've never tried lime and cilantro in my mead, but here is my gut reaction. Jalapeno is already somewhat acidic, so I don't think I'd want to add *much* lime, as it is acidic as well.

    The cilantro sounds good. I might try that myself.

    Capsaicin is the is the chemical that makes jalapenos hot, and I doubt that much of it gets carried over into the actual honey. My guess is that the honey would have more of a mead essence. If I were you, I'd taste the honey after it is finished fermenting to see if it has any heat. Then add raw jalapenos until you have the amount of heat that you like.

    Some will scoff at using raw jalapenos, but there will be enough alcohol in your mead by this point to kill any bacteria that might be on the jalapenos.

  3. How is the mead now? I have been making mead for almost two years now. As for your choice of yeast, you should consider getting some wine or mead yeast. It should provide for a more wine like smell and taste. I have heard the using bread yeast makes it smell 'bready' for lack of better word choice.

    And you are lucky to not have any bad 'infections' to your mead when you put the jalapenos in the primary. Although, with the anti-bacterial properties of honey, the honey may have killed them.

  4. It is excellent. I've since made a batch of Habanero mead that is also quite delicious.

    I've heard similar things about bread yeast, but I made a number of pretty darn good batches of mead with it. I think those comments are pretty much a myth. You are right, though, that you get better aromas using a good wine yeast.

    However, I have not used bread yeast in a while. I've been using EC-1118 with very good results.

    You're probably right about my luckiness. I rarely put anything in the primary anymore without using Camden tablets beforehand. I mostly put things in the secondary, now, as the chances of infection are much less due to the 12.5% alcohol content I typically have after fermentation.

  5. The main reason for not using bread yeast is low alcohol tolerance.

  6. I made some Jalapeño Mead on 12.29.09. It was a very small batch to experiment with.

    3# Mesquite honey (.5# saved for sweetening)
    2 Jalapeño peppers
    1 tsp yeast nutrient
    .5 tsp yeast energizer
    Lalvin 1116 Montpellier Wine Yeast

    I added the sliced peppers (sterilized before slicing)and left the seeds in (that's where the heat comes from)in the secondary.

    Initial SG: 1.090
    SG (before sweetening): 1.008
    SG (after sweetening): 1.026
    Final SG: 1.020
    ABV: Approximately 10.9%

    Turned out really nice.